Founded in February, 2012, Upper West Strategies is a consultancy focused on driving economic opportunity at the intersection of government/education, private industry, the tech sector and mission-driven organizations. UWS has a long history of strategic planning projects with non-profit, governmental and for-profit clients, and a deep commitment to realizing the economic opportunity that education provides to diverse communities.
Richard Robbins is the founder and CEO of Upper West Strategies. He has extensive experience in strategy, marketing, policy and tech. Robbins has conducted a number of high-level strategy consulting and program development/execution efforts including for the National Society of Black Engineers, New York City’s Department of Education, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, and other leading mission-driven, governmental, and corporate clients. He worked for nearly 10 years at AT&T in a range of positions including serving as Director, Social Innovation, where he played an instrumental role in developing the company’s overall social media strategy. He initiated and led AT&T’s groundbreaking partnership with Rock the Vote that engaged 250,000 young Americans via text messaging, and created AT&T’s pledge not to text and drive that has been signed by over 14 million people. Prior to getting his MBA at Columbia Business School, he ran the American Express Gold Card Events program at Festival Marketing, where he implemented strategies to dramatically grow the program’s impact, including through pioneering use of online media. He has deep connections with senior leaders in government, corporations, start-ups, nonprofits and advocacy organizations and especially in the tech startup community in New York City, and has a long history of developing innovative strategies for leveraging technology to reach target audiences. He lives on the Upper West Side with his wife and two daughters and serves on Manhattan Community Board 7.
Ken Blacklow is a principal at Upper West Strategies. Most recently, Ken worked in strategy consulting for mission-driven clients at the Cue Group, focusing on strategy, training, program design, and organizational development. Prior to joining the Cue Group, Ken was the Chief Operating Officer and 4XL Program Director for Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the presence of minorities in leading entry-level business careers and major graduate business schools as preparation for leadership position in corporations, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures. At MLT, Ken was responsible for growing the organization tenfold over 4 years. Ken has experience in the launch, management, and replication of innovative K-12 schools, and leadership program design and management. Prior to joining MLT, Ken worked in the private, public and nonprofit sectors both domestically and internationally. Ken remains civically engaged through board service where he served on a number of non-profit boards nationally and in New York City. He received his Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Ken loves sports, travel, wine tasting, photography and spending time with his family.